Scope of Care

The Purpose of the Scope of Care is to provide understanding on the mental health and psychological concerns that can be treated by the TCU Counseling & Mental Health Center (CMHC) and to explain how the different systems within the Counseling & Mental Health Center respond to various levels of student distress.

  • CMHC uses a Comprehensive Collaborative Care Model, consisting of 5 distinct but equally valued systems of services. These 5 systems include:
  1. Non-clinical services for the TCU community.
  2. Drop-in/Crisis Response services.
  3. Step-Care/Multi-Track Counseling services.
  4. Specialized services for students with high needs.
  5. After-Care & Recovery Support services.
  • CMHC’s primary focus is providing treatment and recovery services for TCU students. We support other departments, such as Campus Recreation & Wellness Programming, in promoting prevention and general wellness; however, the majority of our services are designed for students with mental health and psychological concerns.
  • No presenting concern is “too small” or “not bad enough” to been seen in our center. Our services are covered by the cost of tuition and most students present with normative/developmental concerns. Some students even request single sessions to discuss personal situations in a confidential manner.
  • Each service system responds to different levels of student distress; however, CMHC does not possess all levels of care that a community treatment center can provide. Sometimes the best response we can give is to connect, assess, and refer to providers in the community.
  • In order to serve a community of over 10,000 students, our services are goal-directed, structured, and solution focused. We do not provide “open-ended counseling” because this will limit access to our services.

We define our general scope of care as treating students with mild-to-moderate distress, or with severe distress that’s likely to reduce rapidly with clinical interventions.

Possible indicators that severe distress could reduce rapidly with clinical interventions include:
a.) Severe distress that is acute/short-term/recent in nature.
b.) Severe distress with 1-2 specific symptoms (i.e. panic attacks).
c.) Severe distress that appears in response to adverse situations.
d.) Severe distress that is known to reduce rapidly with interventions that CMHC can provide (i.e. use of bio-feedback and medication management to treat severe panic attacks)

When presenting concerns are beyond CMHCs scope of care, we consider it an ethical obligation to provide referrals to community providers who can offer the appropriate level of treatment.

  1. Non-clinical services for the TCU community – These services are designed for students with mild distress and/or who are seeking non-clinical interventions. Examples include “Let’s Talk,” workshops for Anxiety Management, BASICS consultations, Campus Advocate & Resource Education, general consultations about mental health issues, and our “Need to Talk” 24/7 phone counseling line.

  3. Drop-in/Crisis Response services – These services are designed for students who are interested in formal counseling and/or who are experiencing a significant mental health crisis or urgent psychological concern. Any TCU student can utilize these services; however, utilizing these services does not always result in on-going counseling. Our drop-in/crisis response team might also schedule a follow-up session with them, recommend that students connect with a community provider or direct students to other campus resources such as the Campus Life- Dean’s Office. Students must meet with a drop-in/crisis counselor prior to being assigned to a general staff therapist for counseling. The purpose of the initial drop-in session is to assess how the student’s goals for counseling match with the services that CMHC provides. When there’s not a match, a referral to a community provider is often the course of action. However, we do not merely provide students with a referral list of names and phone numbers. Students have the option of meeting with CMHC staff until the connection with a community provider has been established.

  5. Step-Care/Multi-Track Counseling services – CMHC believes that individual counseling may not always be the best intervention for every presenting concern. For example, research suggests that group therapy is a more powerful intervention for long-standing interpersonal concerns. In addition, as with every major university, all of the individual counseling slots will be filled at some point during the semester. Thus, we utilize a step-care/multi-track system of counseling services. Examples of step care/multi-track services include self-management techniques, biofeedback and virtual reality programs to treat panic attacks and phobias, therapy groups, and dedicated substance use and recovery services.

  7. Specialized services for students with high needs – National trends suggest that hosting higher level of services on campus can help some students continue their enrollment in the university, ease financial burdens, and increase motivation for treatment. Thus, CMHC has partnered with local treatment centers, Sodexo dining services, and private donors to host an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), an Eating Disorder Treatment Team, and a Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) program on campus. Availability of these specialized services are limited and students must be referred by a campus health professional. Tuition does not cover the cost of the campus IOP and most students use their insurance to cover this cost.

  9. After-Care & Recovery Support services – As demonstrated by the field of substance use treatment, the effects of counseling interventions can be short-lived without active support. As such, we apply the principles of relapse prevention and peer support to a variety of clinical concerns. Specifically, we foster supportive communities within our Collegiate Recovery Center, including peer support groups for: A.) Substance Use & Recovery, B.) “The Ripple Effect” – for those with loved ones struggling with addictions, C.) Depression & Anxiety, D.) Trauma Survivors, and E.) Eating Disorders. We also partner with other campus departments to support the communities of gender and sexual minorities as well as students of color.